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The SuccessLab Podcast: Where Entrepreneurs Collaborate for Success

Nov 12, 2014

Welcome to the SuccessLab Podcast episode #24! This week I’m joined in the lab by Hugh Stephens, founder of  Dialogue Consulting in Australia and the new Instagram scheduler app, Schedugram. He is one accomplished guy. He has served on the advisory board for the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, and also spoken extensively on the role of social media in the health care industry.

  1. Can you tell us a bit about your journey?
    • I’ve been involved in all kinds of businesses small and large since I was still in school. About five years ago I started Dialogue Consulting, which is not a digital agency, but more of a consulting company specializing in social and digital. We do a lot of risk management for larger brands and their use in social media. A few years down the track, I identified a need to be able to schedule a post to Instagram.
  2. How do you know when to hire an employee vs. a freelancer?
    • I’ve made terrible hiring decisions before. But really the question it comes down to for me is how much of a disaster would it be if this person suddenly disappeared? If they play a role in your business that is core to how you operate, then I’m of the perspective then you’re better to bring them on as an employee.
  3. Have you created systems before hiring or delegating work to a freelancer?
    • My attitude has always been you shouldn’t outsource something you haven’t done once before.
  4. I know for me, and this seems true for number of entrepreneurs, it can be hard to let go of certain projects and delegate. How have you been able to do that?
    • It took me a very long time to be able to let go and realize other people do things differently and they don’t always have to do things my way as long as the outcome is the same. You can to communicate clearly what the outcome should be though and that there’s time constraints around that.
  5. With your company Dialogue Consulting, I thought you had a really interesting approach. You focus on increasing their internal capability and capacity, so they can use social media effectively. How do you go about increasing the capacity?
    • One of the things about social media is that you can teach anyone to manage social media, so one of the areas we work on with our clients is identifying the people within the business who have knowledge or interest in social media and teaching them the technical implementation side of it.
  6. Are there common mistakes you see most businesses make?
    • One is trying to do too many things. It’s better to do a few things well than many things poorly. Another is really understanding your audience and what value they (the business) can provide to the business. You have to provide value.
  7. How do you know when it’s time to make a safe exit from a social media platform?
    • It’s ok to ask the audience. Ask where they want to hear from you, what do they want to hear through this particular channel. Sometimes you have to go back to the market research phase.
  8. With Schedugram, I know you’ve had some bumps along the way. You are always very quick to alert customers and offer a solution or incentive. As entrepreneurs we’re going to face obstacles and the road is not always smooth, do you have any tips for dealing with set backs or the unexpected challenges that arise?
    • I’m of the opinion that it’s always best way to manage PR is to be as transparent as you are. People understand that mistakes happen, and what you need is to be building up that bank of trust so when something does go wrong, explain what went wrong. This is the problem, this is how we dealt with it, and this is how we’re going to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and here’s what we were going to do to correct it.
  9. Do you have a tip, tool or even a book you can share? Something you’re loving right now?
    • I am a big fan of Business Model Generation.
  10. How can people connect with you?
    • Twitter: @hughstephens
    • Email: hughstephens at hughstephens dot com

This week’s Biz Hack: This one actually came from a fellow SuccessLabr, Jenny Poon. She came across a productivity hack on Fast Company that suggests allotting a theme to each day to help maintain focus when distractions occur. Jack Dorsey, CEO and co-founder of Square, noted doing this while he was simultaneously guiding Square and Twitter, to quickly refocus the day’s tasks when a distraction would interrupt the flow. So for instance, his week might look like this:

Monday - Focus on management and running the company

Tuesday - was dedicated to product

Wednesday - Marketing, communications and growth

Thursday - Developers and partnerships

Friday - Company culture and recruiting

Saturday - Day off for hiking

Sunday - Reflect, feedback, strategy, get ready for the rest of the week 

Action Items: Try dedicating themes to each day of the week. If you’re not sure where to start or which themes to set, try listing out all of your regular work activities so you can identify common themes. Then separate these tasks by theme. If you try it, let me know if it works for you in the comments section. 

Quote of the week: “No matter how low the pendulum swings, there’s a high just on the other side. Be thankful for the failures, because those speak to you in a language you’ll never hear. You learn through failure.” ~ Tanner Lawley

Next week I talk with Matthew Manos. He is the other of “How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free,” and was named one of “Seven Millennials Changing the World” by The Huffington Post. He’s done a lot and he’s only 26!

And if you’re compelled to do so, please rate The SuccessLab Podcast in iTunes…but only if you like it. Until next week, be prosperous!